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Dowling, S. (1982). Mental Organization in the Phenomena of Sleep. Psychoanal. St. Child, 37:285-302.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 37:285-302

Sleep, Dream, and the Mind

Mental Organization in the Phenomena of Sleep

Scott Dowling, M.D.

DURING THE FIRST HOURS OF HIS ANALYSIS, DAN, A 9-YEAR-old boy with a severe learning problem and lifelong enuresis, described five different nighttime events:

A Dream: "There was someone like the Million-Dollar Man, like a robot. He was strong and no one could beat him."

A Nightmare: "I was walking down the street when a man with a beard came out of the house. The rest of the family was tied up in the basement. He was like a burglar. The man had a beard, moustache, sideburns, lots of hair. He was overweight. He had a gun and I ran behind some bushes. You were walking by; the man shot you through your hat. You looked so surprised; you jumped and dove behind the bushes with me. It was scary and woke me up."

The analysis of this nightmare, a task to which we returned over several years, revealed the burglar to combine elements of a demanding and exciting tutor, a camp counselor, Dan's father, himself, and myself. The bushes represented safety, his mother, her genitals, quite or exciting protective closeness to mother, frightening and forbidden possession of mother.

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